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Dickhouse
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thoroughly enjoy building my own wheels. It is a fun, enjoyable, and self-fulfilling process. Riding on something that you created feels SO good. Also, I have more confidence knowing that I did it right, instead of some machine or rushed factory worker.

So why don't companies offer wheel build kits? It seems to me that it would benefit both parties. Let's take a set of Stan's Crest wheels. The basic wheelbuild, with ZTR hubs, costs $480 from Stan's. I would happily pay $450 or so, save $30, and get all the components of this build in the mail from Stan's, at which point I could build them myself. I have to believe it would save Stan's money. First off, that list of components probably costs Stan's $200 (huge guess). They pay someone $10/hr to pack and send these wheelbuild packages and are making a huge profit. On top of that, they would not have honor the same warranty, which would save them huge money on returns and faulty products. It would save me money, and give me that sense of fulfillment.

Now, I understand that you can buy all of these items seperately, sometimes (a lot of companies only offer certain hubs in their pre-built wheelsets), but it is generally more expensive to buy seperately than to just buy a pre-built wheelset.
 

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A. Limited Market. (how many people have the know-how, tools, AND time to build their own wheels...)
B. They probably don't want a bunch of rookie wheel builders putting together their product, to later have it fail in public with their name on it. If someone sees a taco'd wheel, they'll associate it with that brand.
C. I'll take the gamble on the "rushed factory worker" who has build thousands of wheels. He/she can probable build a better wheel than me, even if they were drunk.
 

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Dickhouse
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299 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree with "A" and "B", BUT even though it is a limited market, it would be super easy for them to pull a box of spokes, two rims, two hubs and nipples off the shelf, throw it in a box, and send them your way. I also understand they don't want faulty builds to be associated with their product. I guess I'm just wishing that this would be an option. If enough people were asking for it they might start doing it. It just frustrates me that I have to pay WAY more to buy the items seperately, when it is ME who is doing the grunt work.
 

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Missouri sucks...
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Have you messaged them and asked them for the box of parts? Not saying they'd oblige but you never know if you don't ask;)
 

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Linoleum Knife
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3,323 Posts
dickt3030 said:
I would happily pay $450 or so, save $30, and get all the components of this build in the mail from Stan's, at which point I could build them myself.
I disagree. I enjoy building wheels, but I would happily pay Stan's $30 to build the wheels for me. Building wheels takes time. Time is something I can spend doing something other than building wheels.

Now if we're talking a savings of $200, or something I want that a company doesn't make - I'll spend that time.
 

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bicycle rider
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2,718 Posts
Math - too many rim/hub/lacing/hole count/spoke type combos
Logistics - too many rim/hub/lacing/hole count/spoke type combos
Liability - it's easy to hurt yourself or others if you build a wheel wrong, and it's easy to blame the vendor or manufacturer
Marketing - a poorly built wheel reflects on the products and the vendors
Market - too few people know how to build a wheel (properly)
Profit - if your parts have to be competitively priced with very low mark-up, how do you make a profit? Answer: expertise & labor

Any decent shop/vendor can sell you rims/spokes/hub/accessories for a wheel build. Any smart consumer can figure out what he or she needs and order the appropriate parts.

I build my own wheels. I buy the parts that I need.

Morgan
 

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Dickhouse
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299 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
morganfletcher said:
Any decent shop/vendor can sell you rims/spokes/hub/accessories for a wheel build. Any smart consumer can figure out what he or she needs and order the appropriate parts.

I build my own wheels. I buy the parts that I need.

Morgan
But do you spend more buying your own parts? My experience has been yes, which makes no sense. The consumer is doing ALL of the work, i.e. figuring out all the correct combinations.

And the "Liability" claim does not hold any weight, because you CAN buy their rims seperately and build your own.

What I am talking about here, and seeing if anyone else is on board with me, is whether a company could/should be willing to send you a kit, for a discounted price.
 

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dickt3030 said:
But do you spend more buying your own parts? My experience has been yes, which makes no sense. The consumer is doing ALL of the work, i.e. figuring out all the correct combinations.

And the "Liability" claim does not hold any weight, because you CAN buy their rims seperately and build your own.

What I am talking about here, and seeing if anyone else is on board with me, is whether a company could/should be willing to send you a kit, for a discounted price.
Well...here's your chance at financial independence, dickt.
Start your own wheel building kit company and make millions.
 

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bicycle rider
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dickt3030 said:
But do you spend more buying your own parts? My experience has been yes, which makes no sense. The consumer is doing ALL of the work, i.e. figuring out all the correct combinations.
Do I spend more money? No. Do I spend more time? No, because I usually prefer to choose my own hubs and rims. Occasionally a pre-built wheel meets my needs, and if so, I buy it, but most of the time I would prefer to spec my own parts. That's not true for most consumers I think. Most consumers would prefer to buy wheels.

And the "Liability" claim does not hold any weight, because you CAN buy their rims seperately and build your own.
Wheels are not easy to build right, and if built wrong, can be unsafe, not durable and perform poorly. Selling kits invites people to try it who've never done it, or who think they know how to do it right, or who are just trying to save a buck. Those same people will sue or at least complain loudly when they get hurt or someone they care about gets hurt. The same thing will happen if the wheel or its components do not last long enough, due to a poor build, or if the wheel doesn't perform well, due to a poor build. It's not worth the trouble for the vendor to provide 'kits' and invite this behavior.

What I am talking about here, and seeing if anyone else is on board with me, is whether a company could/should be willing to send you a kit, for a discounted price.
I understand what you are saying. I don't think many vendors would see the upside in stocking a very broad number of SKUs and managing the logistics to "productize" the dizzying array of possible combinations of rims, spokes and hubs in order to provide wheel-buildking kits, which they would then discount.

Try an experiment. Go to a large, on-line vendor. Make a list of all the hubs, rims and spokes they sell. Now, make a chart showing each likely combination of rim and hub, with hole count variations in mind (24,28,32,36,40), then add lacing options (radial, 1x,2x,3x,4x, also variations left and right), now add into the mix every brand and model of spoke they sell. and other options such as brass or alloy nipples, hex or slotted nipples. Now, imagine doing all the work to figure out spoke lengths for all those variations. Now, imagine creating SKUs each of these combinations, or maybe even just the more likely combinations, and managing stock counts such that each kit is usually available.

You can already buy these items as needed. There's no incentive for vendors to cut their profit. Think about it from the other side of the transaction.

Morgan
 

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I too prefer to build my own wheels, and understand your P.O.V. We must realize the big profits that manufacturer's make by offering proprietary wheelsets. Let's use the current UST rim debacle as an example:

Today to buy 29er AM (wide) UST rims they are only available as pre-built wheels using no name, private label hubs without any published specs. None are yet made available as rims, and all seem to be following A/C's lead on in-house service. I don't buy into this marketing hype, proprietary parts, and refuse to spend $ on unknowns.

Yes, it costs more to buy the brand name items, but it's the real deal, not some poorly-sealed Taiwanese hub with 16 p.o.e., or nylon pawl retainer that has been slapped together by some overworked person that likely has never ridden a bike for sport.
[Before you disagree, first try researching hub info on these pre-built UST wheels]

So, if brand image & liability are the motives to only provide pre-built wheels, and not profits, then hub failure would be a larger concern... Until it is, the specs published, and parts are readily available, I'll keep buying products of known value, and denying the wheel manufacturer's their quest for profits at our expense.
----
 

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likes to ride bikes
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893 Posts
Stan's prices are oustanding for what you get, and they're infinitely configurable online. No complaints there whatsoever. Their wheel builds have always worked for me.

You look at some wheels like Industry9, and the markup compared to Notubes is considerable. They're still reasonable though for the quality. Compare that to what you get for the same money from Mavic or American Classic. I don't see the point of buying anything but Stan's or Industry9 wheel builds, I'm a loyal customer.
 

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I would think anyone building up their own wheels is also fairly specific about all the components that go into it (I know I am). Just think of all the variables just in spokes alone. There are too many variables that the only way to do it and bring in cost savings would be do the packages in bulk (large qty's), which kind of counteracts the whole reason someone might want to build their own wheels (the customization).
 

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Dickhouse
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299 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
meltingfeather said:
so this would be for people who want to build their own wheels but can't be bothered with understanding the spoke length calculation, or simply a "package deal savings" incentive?
It would be both. The companies already have the spoke lengths figured depending on which hub and rim you select, and it is simple for them to mate these entities. And since I, the consumer, don't have access to QBP's spoke length calculator, it just makes sense for them to do that.

Again, I just think it would be nice for them to offer. They would still be making the money, instead of the consumer going out and buying the separate components from whatever online retailer they choose, and would save time and money by not having to pay someone to build the wheel.
 

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Wheel kits are pointless.

The guy that wants to build his own wheel more than likely wants something that wouldn't even be in the kit anyway. If you want a "custom kit" you can just put it together yourself.
 

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transmitter~receiver
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dickt3030 said:
It would be both. The companies already have the spoke lengths figured depending on which hub and rim you select, and it is simple for them to mate these entities. And since I, the consumer, don't have access to QBP's spoke length calculator, it just makes sense for them to do that.
You have access to a number of spoke calculators.
I don't see it flying at all. I'm assuming you want the seller to take responsibility for the spoke length? What happens when a few novice builders who can't be bothered to understand or figure out spoke length make a lacing error and blow up the innanetz bashing the supplier? Or take half a day of someone's time helping the person figure out that the issue is really their fault?
 

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bicycle rider
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dickt3030 said:
And since I, the consumer, don't have access to QBP's spoke length calculator...
http://www.dtswiss.com/SpokesCalc/Welcome.aspx?language=en
http://www.bikeschool.com/tools/spoke-length-calculator
http://sheldonbrown.com/rinard/spocalc.htm

I've used all three, plus the formulas in Jobst Brandt's book. Those links work fine, and they're free.

Again, I just think it would be nice for them to offer. They would still be making the money, instead of the consumer going out and buying the separate components from whatever online retailer they choose, and would save time and money by not having to pay someone to build the wheel.
I think most good vendors will give you exactly what you want. Stop in, call or email and say "I want a kit to build this wheel" and they'll do the work of figuring spoke length, aggregating the parts and selling them to you. But pre-configured kits probably won't be happening.

The Mayor has a good suggestion; make it happen!

Morgan
 

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It's easy to build good/acceptable wheels. Most novice builders could do so in a 3-4 hours using the numerous online resources, and end up with a decent wheel. Unfortunately too many people would select components that aren't right for them or their riding style, assemble them incorrectly, and then complain to the manufacturer.

Building perfectly tensioned, true, stress relieved wheels takes knowledge and experience. That is the difference between a wheelset that will just do ok, or run perfectly till the cows come home. In my opinion, paying a pro builder to do it is worth the small amount they usually charge.
 

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While a "kit" isn't commonly available, you can order rims, hubs, spokes, and nipples from many on-line stores and any LBS. I'm sure that any of these sources would gladly sell you everything that you need to build a wheel - and would likely do the spoke length calculation for you. Instead of ordering a single part number item, it would be multiple parts - and isn't that the advantage of building your own wheels versus buying "factory" wheels, you get exactly what you need/want and not a "one size fits all" wheel.
 
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